Jeremy David Rankin, My Beloved Son (August 3, 1985-January 24, 2020)

[Jeremy loved his nephews and nieces dearly. Here he is with Hannah Rankin in 2016, some months after his illness began, when she was visiting from Germany. His nephew Evan Rankin (from Massachusetts) perhaps drew out of him his last audible words two days before he died. Evan walked up to him in his hospital bed and said so sweetly, “Hi Uncle Jeremy.” Jeremy mustered every bit of his remaining strength, and with a deep smile against his emaciated face, said, “Hi Evan” even as “Evan” was trailing off in its audiblility. Evan has a special place in his room for all the gifts Jeremy has given him, including his favorite stuffed animal.]


  • Jeremy was working through the University of Connecticut, with excellent academics, and aiming for law school to become a public defender. He had a particular interest in The Innocence Project which works with DNA to set falsely convicted people free. To honor Jeremy and his heart, you can make a donation to the Innocence Project in his name. Click here to donate online, and be sure to click the first box under the donation and write: “In honor and loving memory of Jeremy David Rankin.” To donate by mail, send it to: The Innocence Project, 40 Worth Street, Suite 701, New York, NY 10013, Attn: Development Department and be sure to indicate that the gift is “In honor and loving memory of Jeremy David Rankin.” Their website is and their phone is 212.364.5340. Thank you so much!


Jeremy ran his race fully, and finished well. In his extraordinary sufferings he carried his cross with courage and dignity, and in his unfailing kindness to all others in spite of it all. He now knows the love of Jesus face-to-face, and yes, we miss him terribly, his funny, smart and loving presence, yet we will rejoin and rejoice with him on the resurrection morn. Eternal life is now a whisper away from my soul at all times, and deepening within, and as I walk gently with a gaping hole in my heart until that day when all suffering, pain, sorrow, crying, tears and death are forever abolished.

  1.  O Jeremy! O Jeremy! An Ode from a Father Who Desperately Loves His Son [YouTube reading: click here (5:42)]
  2. [Written text: click here]
  3. Memorial Service Celebration, February 8, 2020, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Simsbury, CT, with slide show of Jeremy’s life following [YouTube: click here (1:17:20)]. There are three songs in the original service, the third of which is copyright and cannot be uploaded here: 1) I know That You are Good (5:19: Big Daddy Weave: click here); 2) Danny Boy (5:51 Roy Orbison; click here); 3) I Can Only Imagine (4:06: MercyMe: click here). They were each removed before it was known which one as copyrighted.
  4. In Jeremy’s illness, there were two songs that deeply ministered to him. First is Hallelujah, written by Leonard Cohen as a wandering Jew who confesses his “broken hallelujah” of the worship of a broken human being, concluding with a praise to the Lord of Song of a full Hallelujah. Click here for an audio version (4:38) or click here for his live performance in London (7:20). Second is Dear Younger Me (3:36: MercyMe: click here). When he first heard it in 2017, he bounded down the stairs (when his health was the strongest in this season) in joy over discovering it.
  5. Order of Service [click here].
  6. Remembering Jeremy by his close friend Matt Kraines (click here).
  7. Obituary [click here].
  8. Daily Liturgy at Jeremy’s Graveside. Click here. I am learning that worship is the true guardian of grief.


Jeremy David Rankin with John & Nancy, born 12:33 a.m., August 3, 1985, Beverly, Massachusetts, nine pounds, nine ounces.

Nancy and Jeremy.

Jeremy and John.

Jeremy and Nancy.

Baby Jeremy ponders his inherited brothers.

Stuart and Jeremy

Nancy and Jeremy.

John & Jeremy

Jeremy and Nancy.

Jeremy and Chad.

Chad, Jeremy, and Stuart, in the 1971 VW Bus, headed to Grandpa and Grandma’s place on Washington Island, WI, summer 1986.

Evan Rankin (born prematurely at 24 weeks), at age 4 years (son of eldest brother Chad); Jeremy Rankin at age 4.

Jeremy with Happy.

Jeremy with new sister Brittney.

Uncle Doug (John’s brother) with Chad, Stuart, Jeremy, and Brittney.

Jeremy and Brittney (Spring, 1992, just before they turned 7 and 2). This picture sits in my study. To such little children belong the kingdom of the heavens as Jesus taught.

Jeremy, John, and Brittney on Ragged Mountain.

Jeremy and Brittney.

Jeremy hoisted by Chad.

Jeremy and Brittney.

Jeremy and Brittney.

Jeremy and Brittney

Jeremy and Brittney.

Jeremy shoveling the deck.

Jeremy and Brittney.

Jeremy and Brittney.

Jeremy thinking, ever thinking.

Chad, David Gordon (Nancy’s younger brother), Nancy, John, Stuart, Brittney, and Jeremy David Rankin, at Uncle Dave’s wedding outside Chicago.

Jeremy at Summer Camp, July 1995, just before his 10th birthday.

Jeremy during summer camp, in Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.

Jeremy and Brittney in San Francisco, CA.

Jeremy spying out Alcatraz in San Francisco, CA.

Jeremy in Frisco, CO.

Jeremy and John in Frisco, CO.

Jeremy and Brittney in Frisco, CO.

Jeremy and Nancy at Lake Arrowhead, CA.

Jeremy was always jumping quickly to help in any way possible.

Jeremy and Brittney, Custer, SD.

Jeremy with Nancy and John, Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills, SD.

Nancy, Jeremy, John, Stuart and Brittney, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

John, Jeremy, and Nancy, somewhere.

John, Jeremy, and Stuart.

Brittney, Jeremy, and Stuart.

Jeremy grew tall fast, to 6’3 1/2″ by age 13. Then, Brittney grew to 5’10” in her teenage years.

Jeremy playing clarinet in the in the Simsbury High School band.

Jeremy baptized at age 13 by the Rev. Dr. V. Don Haas and the Rev. Brad Moger, in the stream behind Covenant Presbyterian Church, Simsbury, CT. Stuart and Brittney were baptized the same day; Chad was baptized years earlier while John was still at Harvard.

Jeremy and Chad.

Stuart, Brittney, Nancy, Jeremy, and Chad.

Jeremy at Chad’s High School graduation with his grandfather, Emmett Clair Rankin, M.D., Brittney, and Dr. Rankin’s lovely wife Emily (he had already been widowed twice and bereft of his second daughter Dayna in a plane crash when she was 29).

Jeremy in Peru (age 17 or 18)

Jeremy, John, Nancy, and Brittney.

John, Nancy, Brittney, Chad, Stuart, and Jeremy, at Stuart’s college graduation.

Chad, Grandpa Rankin, Jeremy, Stuart, and John.

Jeremy and his best friend Matt Kraines, still in high school (see Matt’s words at the Memorial Service, linked above).

Jeremy and Brittney at the Statute of Liberty.

Jeremy, Brittney, and Nancy, at the Statute of Liberty.

Brittney, John, and Jeremy, at the Statute of Liberty.

Jeremy, along with his siblings, were born in the Boston area while John was at Gordon-Conwell and Harvard. Jeremy loved the Red Sox, and made every attempt to watch a game at Fenway Park, even after the family returned to John’s native Connecticut in 1992 — whether John and Nancy could take him, whether Chad or Stuart could, and then when he was old enough to drive himself. He and Chad (who lives in Massachusetts) especially did so in the latter years, while Stuart and his family live in Germany.

Jeremy and Nancy with Chad, Christiane and their family.

Jeremy (almost age 28) with Stuart and Maike at their wedding in northern Germany.

Jeremy in California, Thanksgiving, 2014, age 29, just before returning home with John.

Jeremy (a bit camera shy as he was wont to do sometimes) at Lake Arrowhead, CA, en route home with John. John’s mother and her parents had a summer home on Lake Arrowhead in the 1920s and 1930s.

Jeremy in St. Louis under the Gateway Arch, en route home with John.

Jeremy in St. Louis, on the Mississippi River, en route home with John.

Jeremy (age 30) at a Red Sox game with Chad and Christiane, just before his illness began.

Jeremy (age 33) at Evan’s second birthday; he did not want to show his teeth even as he smiled.

Jeremy, Christmas, 2018, age 33.

Jeremy, age 33 or 34.

Nancy, and Jeremy at 34, about the time of the cancer diagnosis.

Jeremy’s photo i.d. picture taken for the University of Connecticut, age 34, just prior to the cancer diagnosis. He was aiming for law school with excellent academics, to be a public defender for the poor and also to work with the Innocence Project.

Jeremy (age 34) in the hospital, Thanksgiving 2019, when Stuart, Maike, Hannah, Phoebe and Noah were visiting from Germany. Oh how he suffered and without complaining, always kind, always thinking of others first. When he had his catastrophic fall weeks prior on Halloween evening, and rushed in for emergency surgery, his concern was for his father, who in coming to his aid, fell very sick with his digestive tract inflammation, as of yet, not healed.

Casket with roses on the morning of Jeremy’s Memorial service, February 8, 2020, 12-15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Jeremy’s vault cover for the casket.

One of innumerable examples of Jeremy’s integrity in dealing with all people; this envelope was found in his Jeep, intended for the post office.